Beside Two Rivers by Rita Gerlach
Daughters of the Potomac, #2
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Pages: 321 Trade Paperback
Date Published: September 2012
Publisher: Abingdon Press
A tale of love won and love lost, and the faith to find it again. From the banks of the Potomac to the misty moors of England, Darcy follows a path where the secrets of the past slowly rise to the surface in this dramatic saga that began in Before the Scarlet Dawn. She meets Ethan Brennan, an aspiring English horse breeder, who embraces her independent spirit and marvels at the simplicity of her faith. Ethan and Darcy fall in love, but are kept apart by a promise to another and a sworn oath to a dying woman whose long-hidden secret threatens Darcy ‘s and Ethan ‘s lives.
It is one of those things that makes me think to myself, I wonder why I am surprised. When I first started this book as a PDF ARC, I got over 64% within one reading, much like with it’s predecessor Before the Scarlet Dawn where I had read 50% of that one in one sitting. However in this case, I read and did not sleep that night, oh wait – that’s what happened then too! . It’s just too good. There is just too much to walk away from. I just have to turn the page. The only way that I got myself to stop was that I finished part two, and the next page was to start part three and I figured that at 5 AM, I might get at least two hours of sleep before the girls woke up. After that it was a couple days before I went back, because I was dying to read it and wanted it to be a sweet and uninterrupted time because I could not imagine my frustration and dire need to know what was happening next with my little interruptions (preschooler and almost toddler!). Beside Two Rivers is the second book in the Daughters of the Potomac Series and I’m sure you could try to read it alone, but to really get the benefit of the underlying issues, drama and true love levels you really need to read Before the Scarlet Dawn, the first book in the series. After this one I tell you that I am literally pining for the third novel Beyond the Valley expected in early 2013.
A little background, in case you haven’t read my review of Before the Scarlet Dawn. Rita Gerlach is one of the reasons I love hosting www.Christian HistoricalFiction.com. When I read her first novel Surrender the Wind in August 2009 I was enthralled, enchanted and craving for more from the language and imagery. She delivers so much in just 400 pages and on and on I can repeat that I cannot wait to read her next book and her next – she is an absolute favorite author for me. Many times when you read a Christian Historical novel as a reader you find yourself delving into a life and learning some facts and details and having a generally good romance with a bit of intrigue. Rita’s characters and their lives come to life off the page. Her story brings in thoughts that I cannot hardly imagine which way I want this to end, much less how to get there. It’s like Francine Rivers epic touching hearts and souls like the Marta Legacy Saga.
Coming from loving being behind Eliza and her turmoil to a calm in the storm it’s hard to think that I could get behind her daughter’s perspective in this book, but I found myself even more drawn to Darcy than I thought was even possible. And Ethan… oh Ethan! Parts of me scream, speak! say something! but then other logic in me says to just leave it. (You have to read it! to know what I mean without too many spoilers.) Darcy’s story is full of what ifs and questions and is told in so a captivating way. But then at the same time, Beside Two Rivers is more than just Darcy’s story. It is also Eliza, Ethan, and the Morgan family… With evil on the lines of Tracie Peterson and Kristen Billerbeck villains each page just has to be turned to get to the end! Oh, and again. You feel like it could not possibly ever get better or happy ever again and that there is no possible solution or way out of a situation and then you see the light is coming back. Surrender. There is no possible way without God’s love. He is always there, every step of every direction. If he gives it to you, you can handle it but not maybe in the way you expected. This is quite real and fascinating. The sins of the father, or even mother seem to be visiting the children, but no matter what circumstances are making life difficult or confusing, giving it to God heals it all.
If you do not want to be moved, don’t read this book. Don’t even start the series if you cannot open your heart and set your soul along side these characters. Rita’s prose will open you up and take you for a journey and educate you in history reminiscence. Just the way I love it with a bit of America and a bit of England as well. This is the epitome of romance with a flavor of Persuasion. I definitely had a flavor of regency in the wilderness that touched me like no other. Bring in a mix of Jane Austen with a kick of Laura Frantz and I’m on every page. Goodness, just looking back at my thoughts I feel like Rita Gerlach is presenting the best of all my favorite authors on the page! That and with Darcy’s wit she even gives me a humor worthy of Mary Connealy. Could it get any better? Now, how am I suppose to wait until Beyond the Valley? How can there be more?! Yet, oh please let there be plenty more!
*Thanks to Rita for providing a copy for review.*
Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland.
“Inspirational romantic fiction is one way people can escape the cares of life and be transported back to a time of raw courage and ideal love,” she says. “The goal of my writing is to give readers a respite, and inspire them to live fully and gratefully.”